How To: Use the New Picture-in-Picture Mode in Android O

Use the New Picture-in-Picture Mode in Android O

One of the biggest new features in Android O is a picture-in-picture mode that lets you watch videos in a floating window while you're using other apps. Honestly, it's awesome and intuitive, but there are a few ground rules you'll need to learn to master the new feature.

Only certain apps will offer full support for the new PiP feature when Android O officially rolls out later this year. Some features aren't patently obvious, either, like returning to full-screen mode or dismissing the floating video window. So to clear up any confusion you may have, we'll dig into Android 8.0's new Picture-in-Picture feature below.

A Note About App Compatibility

In order for Android O's picture-in-picture feature to work seamlessly, video player apps will have to be updated. At the time of this writing, the only two apps that have added full support are YouTube and VLC — but hey, at least those are the two biggest video apps.

For YouTube, you'll need to subscribe to YouTube Red or Google Play Music to use the new PiP mode on Android O. For VLC, you'll need to make sure you're running the latest version, then you'll also have to enable the "Play videos in background" option in the app's settings menu.

Activating Picture-in-Picture Mode

As long as the app you're using has been updated to add full support for picture-in-picture mode, using the feature is incredibly easy. While you're watching a video on YouTube, for instance, just leave the app by pressing your home button or switching to a different app, then the video will keep on playing in a small floating window.

For VLC, it's a bit more complicated. While you're watching a video, press the menu button near the bottom of the screen (tap your screen once if the menu overlay is hidden), then press the picture-in-picture button. From there, you'll be free to switch to any other app while the video keeps on playing in PiP mode.

Using the PiP Window

The rest of the PiP experience should be incredibly intuitive. If you need to move the window, just drag it to a spot that suits you better. If you want to close it out, you've got two options — either tap the video window, then press the "X" button, or drag the window to the very bottom of your screen and let go.

In fact, tapping the floating video window will bring up a full set of controls and cause the PiP frame to enlarge slightly. After doing so, you'll be able to pause playback or skip to the next video, and if you hit the full-screen icon in the center of the window, you'll be taken back to the video app where you started.

Overall, it's a great new feature, but we'd love to see many more apps add native support. We'll stay on the lookout and update this guide when popular video apps add support, but until then, make sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Cover image and screenshots by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

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